I joined Nominet as a Project Manager in March 2018 and the time has just flown – probably because this is the most enjoyable job I’ve had. I love the variety of interesting projects we handle here and the fact that there is so much opportunity to upskill and gain experience in different areas. Nominet is not only a respected registry for the .UK domain; the business is involved in cyber security and a broad range of social tech ventures as part of the public benefit activity too. There’s so much going on and it’s busy, sometimes I have five projects on the go at once when in previous roles it used to be just one. But the mix of smaller and larger projects, all moving at different speeds, allows for productivity and makes this role so engaging.
Being a Project Manager pretty much does what it says on the tin. It starts with a business case for a project, which we assess for viability – because some projects just won’t work – before developing a plan to deliver it. The first stage involves a lot of discussion, often coaxing out the business case from the person submitting it, helping them to articulate what they actually want to achieve. Then we gather a team of appropriate stakeholders, share an action plan with them, and support the project along the journey, overcoming the inevitable hurdles – both expected and unexpected. Projects can last anywhere from four to nine months, although some can be more challenging take up to 18 months. I relish the trickier ones as I love solving problems and the rush you get when a complicated project is finally delivered is wonderful.
It took me quite a few years to discover that being a Project Manager was the perfect role for my skills. Like many, I didn’t know what I wanted to do beyond school and opted to study beauty therapy because it sounded like it could be interesting as well as offer the opportunity to be self-employed or as full-time salon staff. The next few years were spent working in salons, which I found more fulfilling when I became a manager; I loved organising things, handling issues and finding better ways to work. It was satisfying but it still didn’t feel like my true calling.
It was while working at Unipart that I finally came across this profession. The business hired a new Strategic Manager who gave me my first exposure to project management and it immediately felt like the perfect fit, involving all the tasks I enjoyed most. I was soon being promoted into different project management roles across Unipart, handling some big projects like preparing the business for GDPR ahead of May 2018. After a while, however, I needed a change, feeling a bit lost among the 3,000 other employees.
Nominet appealed as an employer for various reasons, one being that it was smaller company and therefore presented more of an opportunity to make an impact on the wider business. That said, it’s not too small to pack a serious punch; Nominet runs the registry for the .UK namespace and supports millions of individuals and business which rely on the .UK Domain daily. The fact that a move to Nominet took me into the tech sector was the icing on the cake: technology is the future and I wanted to be part of it.
The key to being a good Project Manager is being organised and willing to work closely with a team of people. Even more important – and harder – is being able to trust the team and let them take charge of different tasks; micro managers will not succeed in this job, you need to let go. Communication is critical to this role too as there is much listening and engaging involved, not to mention adaptability, as we work with many different people and on lots of different projects. The variety is one of my favourite aspects of this role; there is such a buzz when you’re working with someone new or in an area of the business you may be less familiar with and you gradually get to know them and understand what they do.
When first joining Nominet, it was surprising – in a good way – to discover so many people that were all keen to work together to get things done. There’s such a vibe of positivity here and everyone is genuinely helpful, never making you feel unimportant or that your work doesn’t matter. What’s incredibly rare is that you can literally speak to anyone at Nominet, even the senior leadership team, whenever you need to. I’ve also been blown away by the care and support the company shows towards staff too; it’s never overlooked and never feels like an afterthought. We’re made to feel valued in a variety of ways, from big things like an annual performance-related bonus, to the fun little things like giving everyone chocolate eggs at Easter. Lockdown didn’t interfere with that either – we got our eggs in the post!
As many other staff would agree, the fact that Nominet is a profit with a purpose company means a lot to me and there are plenty of ways staff can get involved with the public benefit work that is being done – if you want to. There is no pressure to give up your free time to take part, but the activities are good fun, from in-house fundraising activities to raise money for the Samaritans to attending external events run by the Scouts as part of Nominet’s work with them.
I’m 100% satisfied with my decision to work at Nominet as it provides the ideal blend of variety and challenge in a welcoming, hardworking yet fun environment. It’s the right-sized company too, allowing us all to feel we have an impact while still providing so many interesting opportunities and projects to get involved with. My next career goal is to become a Senior Project Manager and there is no doubt that Nominet supports my ambitions and takes my personal development as seriously as I do; they value me, I feel, and are keen to develop my potential. Who could ask for more, really?